Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Secret Stream Silver

Very few places fill me with more anticipation than fishing the Secret Stream (I’ve never mentioned it’s name) - less than a mile long, shallow, gin-clear water and flowing though the most beautiful countryside. And James and I found ourselves lucky enough to be fishing it on the opening day of the grayling season.

It’s been nearly two years we last laid eyes on it - our 11th visit in six years - and we were on the riverbank, gear set up, long before the sun broke the horizon. As soon as we had enough light it was stick ‘n’ pin, maggots and searching the gravels with polaroids for grayling among the many trout and millions of minnows.

The minnows were ravenous but the trout were pretty well behaved - except for the triploids - I landed a few of those, one of which was well over 6lb (would have smashed my river PB if it was in season). And we found the ladies of the stream - beautiful bars of silver - fantastic fishing - cracking day in the autumn sunshine!

Monday, 18 October 2021

Evening On The Itchen II

A return trip to The Itchen, and while James tried to add another barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge, I tried once again to land a 2lb+ Itchen roach. I could see them ghosting in and out of a shallow gravel run - but to cut a long story short - I couldn't tempt them!

I tried a variety of bait but the roach weren't going to be fooled on this trip - a blank was saved by a grayling, a brown trout and three chub to 4lb 13oz. A quick photo of the largest chub - before hitting the road, no time for sleep - there was grayling to catch...

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Ghost Barbel & The Twins

Whatever was putting the fish off a few days ago has washed through. An afternoon wander and five barbel found the net - including the 7lb 2oz very distinctive 'ghost barbel' (above) and an 11lb 0oz double (below). Oh, and another double spotted for next time...

The eleven was sat with her twin - there couldn't have been more than an ounce or two difference between them. Both rushed the rolled bread, this one beating the other to it - a recapture of my September double - but I know there is at least one more there...

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Fresh Water

After an afternoon thrashing the canals to a foam with lures without so much as a follow I thought I'd hit the Small River for some barbel action. This much needed rain must have sparked a feeding frenzy - nope - just one fish! Anything but predictable!!

Sunday, 3 October 2021

London Pike

Chasing rumors. I'm very lucky with my local fishing, I'm a walk away from some fantastic barbel, chub, trout, roach and gudgeon. There are ponds if I fancy targeting carp and canals for bream. But one species I haven't got at my fingertips is pike.

The last few seasons I have fished The Royal Parks with diminishing returns and stories of a big fish-kill that wiped out the pike. The once great Penton Hook hasn't produced a pike in years. And the river and stillwater I used to fish are no longer available on a day ticket.

Looks like I'm going to have to head away from London to find pike, my last local hope is the canals (much of which now display 'No Fishing' signs). Time to wander the towpath and chuck a few lures about. Or am I missing something right in front of me?

River pike within the London tube network, 13lb 1oz (2018).

Canal pike within the tube network, 15lb 0oz (2015).

Tube network stillwater pike, 11lb 12oz (2015).

A Penton Hook double, 17lb 8oz (2011).

Tidal Thames, boat caught double, 12lb 9oz (2017).

And my biggest London pike, 18lb 3oz (2019).

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Summer Fishing 2021

A summer of bread! It's pretty much all I've used for bait so far this season - sorry bait companies. Well the short summer season has once again flown past; roach, trout, chub, a few eels and lashings and lashings of barbel (153) - so before it's wooly hats and wellies here's a quick summer review - written monthly as I went along...

June: I managed to hit the Small River five times during the opening two weeks (one full day and 4 afternoons). Action was explosive with 62 barbel landed - plus a small carp, a pound plus eel and about a dozen chub! The bigger barbel are eluding me but hopefully I'll track them down. Cracking start to the season!!

July: Extreme weather; a heatwave followed by storms and flooding. The barbel fishing was still hectic, small fish, but I cracked my Barbel Challenge - 104 barbel! And mission with the stick 'n' pin resulted in a mixed bag including some lovely gudgeon. With the 100 barbel target in the bag I really need to locate some bigger specimens...

August: Still trying to track down a bigger barbel - best of the month was a 7lb 3oz beauty. I did land a surprise new PB eel - on bread! As a break from the barbel, a trip to the Itchen resulted in a couple of pound plus roach and five bream. And a wander along a neglected chalk stream provided some cracking wild brown trout.

September: A return to the chalk stream produced the most stunning wild brown trout I've ever seen. A quick mission to the Small River saw a double figure barbel added to the season. And three days on the very low, clear River Wye produced some fantastic chub and barbel action. Small River summer barbel count: 140.

And now it's time for pike...

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Quick Barbel Report (140)

Just three quick Small River barbel missions this month - 11 barbel added, including a double and the 7lb 12oz beauty above.

And James has added another double barbel to his 40 Rivers Challenge - quarter of the challenge complete - blog post here.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Wonderful Wye - Day 3

Last fishing day of the short trip - time to find that perch! But first I couldn't resist using up the last of the luncheon meat - and bagged three more barbel in The Wye Valley sunshine.

I switched to a lure and the weather closed in. Unfortunately no perch - I did watch one about 2lb hit the lure in the rain - but it didn't find a hook. Wet through - a Sunday roast was calling!

Roast beef and Mortimer & Whitehouse. Cracking trip home - far too short a visit but I'll be back very soon. Thanks Mum & Dad - can you order a bit of rain before the next trip (but not too much).

The heavens opened - so we spent an hour sheltering under a bridge.

No perch photo, so here's a photo of cow #1063..!

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Wonderful Wye - Day 2

A late morning start and the plan was to sit it out in a couple of swims I'd seen barbel in the day before. Chub were first to find the bait - but soon the chub taps turned into barbel trying to rip the rod in - a perfect day on The Wye in the sunshine!

I watched kingfishers fishing, a big pike striking bleak and landed 6 chub and 9 barbel - I photographed all the barbel - beauitiful bronze and gold with a green sheen. All too soon the day was done - back home for a steak and a bottle of wine with my Mum & Dad.

The barbel soon bullied the chub out of the way.

Barbel number 8 as my Dad watched on from the steep bank.

Last barbel of the afternoon - a 7lb 11oz beauty!

Friday, 24 September 2021

Ticket Please

Rumaging through an old coat - as you do when you're back at your parents house - I found an old Club Card from 1991 - 30 years ago!

Wow! Thirty years!! I found some photos from that season - Mat Police Alert! My last season as a junior and I was all about match fishing...

I won the season and set a new junior match record weight. I never did fish an adult match - turning my attention to pike (and girls).